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Beneath the watchful gaze of several armed CIA agents, Langdon, Katherine, and Bellamy waited with Sato in the Cathedral College sitting room. On the coffee table before them, Langdon’s leather bag was still open, the golden capstone peeking out the top. The words Eight Franklin Square had now faded away, leaving no evidence that they had ever existed.

Katherine had pleaded with Sato to let her go see her brother, but Sato had simply shaken her head, eyes fixed on Bellamy’s cell phone. It sat on the coffee table and had yet to ring.

Why didn’t Bellamy just tell me the truth? Langdon wondered. Apparently, the Architect had been in contact with Peter’s captor all night, reassuring him that Langdon was making progress deciphering the pyramid. It was a bluff, an attempt to buy time for Peter. In fact, Bellamy was doing all he could to interfere with anyone who threatened to unveil the pyramid’s secret. Now, however, it seemed that Bellamy had switched sides. He and Sato were now prepared to risk the pyramid’s secret in hopes of catching this man.

“Take your hands off me!” shouted an elderly voice in the hall. “I’m blind, not inept! I know my way through the college!” Dean Galloway was still protesting loudly as a CIA agent manhandled him into the sitting room and forced him into one of the chairs.

“Who’s here?” Galloway demanded, his blank eyes staring dead ahead. “It sounds like a lot of you. How many do you need to detain an old man? Really now!”

“There are seven of us,” Sato declared. “Including Robert Langdon, Katherine Solomon, and

your Masonic brother Warren Bellamy.”

Galloway slumped, all his bluster gone.

“We’re okay,” Langdon said. “And we just heard that Peter is safe. He’s in bad shape, but the police are with him.”

“Thank heavens,” Galloway said. “And the—”

A loud rattling caused everyone in the room to jump. It was Bellamy’s cell phone vibrating against the coffee table. Everyone fell silent.

“Okay, Mr. Bellamy,” Sato said. “Don’t blow it. You know the stakes.”

Bellamy took a deep breath and exhaled. Then he reached down and pressed the speakerphone button to connect the call.

“Bellamy here,” he said, speaking loudly toward the phone on the coffee table.

The voice that crackled back through the speaker was familiar, an airy whisper. It sounded like he was calling from a hands-free speakerphone inside a car. “It’s past midnight, Mr. Bellamy. I was about to put Peter out of his misery.”

There was an uneasy silence in the room. “Let me talk to him.”

“Impossible,” the man replied. “We’re driving. He’s tied up in the trunk.”

Langdon and Katherine exchanged looks and then began shaking their heads at everyone. He’sbluffing! He no longer has Peter!

Sato motioned for Bellamy to keep pressing.

“I want proof that Peter’s alive,” Bellamy said. “I’m not giving you the rest of—”

“Your Worshipful Master needs a doctor. Don’t waste time with negotiations. Tell me the street number on Franklin Square, and I’ll bring Peter to you there.”

“I told you, I want—”

“Now!” the man exploded. “Or I will pull over and Peter Solomon dies this instant!”

“You listen to me,” Bellamy said forcefully. “If you want the rest of the address, you’ll play by my rules. Meet me at Franklin Square. Once you deliver Peter alive, I’ll tell you the number of the building.”

“How do I know you won’t bring the authorities?”

“Because I can’t risk double-crossing you. Peter’s life is not the only card you hold. I know what’s really at stake tonight.”

“You do realize,” the man on the phone said, “that if I sense so much as a hint of anyone other than you at Franklin Square, I will keep driving, and you will never find even a trace of Peter Solomon. And of course . . . that will be the least of your worries.”

“I’ll come alone,” Bellamy replied somberly. “When you turn over Peter, I’ll give you everything you need.”

“Center of the square,” the man said. “It will take me at least twenty minutes to get there. I suggest you wait for me as long as it takes.”

The line went dead.

Instantly, the room sprang to life. Sato began shouting orders. Several field agents grabbed their radios and headed for the door. “Move! Move!”

In the chaos, Langdon looked to Bellamy for some kind of explanation as to what was actually going on tonight, but the older man was already being hurried out the door.

“I need to see my brother!” Katherine shouted. “You have to let us go!”

Sato walked over to Katherine. “I don’t have to do anything, Ms. Solomon. Is that clear?”

Katherine stood her ground and looked desperately into Sato’s small eyes.

“Ms. Solomon, my top priority is apprehending the man at Franklin Square, and you will sit here with one of my men until I accomplish that task. Then, and only then, will we deal with your brother.”

“You’re missing the point,” Katherine said. “I know exactly where this man lives! It’s literally five minutes up the road in Kalorama Heights, and there will be evidence there that will help you! Besides, you said you want to keep this quiet. Who knows what Peter will start telling the authorities once he’s stabilized.”

Sato pursed her lips, apparently registering Katherine’s point. Outside, the chopper blades began winding up. Sato frowned and then turned to one of her men. “Hartmann, you take the Escalade. Transport Ms. Solomon and Mr. Langdon to Kalorama Heights. Peter Solomon is not to speak to anyone. Is that understood?”

“Yes, ma’am,” the agent said.

“Call me when you get there. Tell me what you find. And don’t let these two out of your sight.”

Agent Hartmann gave a quick nod, pulled out the Escalade keys, and headed for the door.

Katherine was right behind him.

Sato turned to Langdon. “I’ll see you shortly, Professor. I know you think I’m the enemy, but I can assure you that’s not the case. Get to Peter at once. This isn’t over yet.”

Off to one side of Langdon, Dean Galloway was sitting quietly at the coffee table. His hands had found the stone pyramid, which was still sitting in Langdon’s open leather bag on the table in front of him. The old man was running his hands over the stone’s warm surface.

Langdon said, “Father, are you coming to see Peter?”

“I’d just slow you down.” Galloway removed his hands from the bag and zipped it up around the pyramid. “I’ll stay right here and pray for Peter’s recovery. We can all speak later. But when you show Peter the pyramid, would you please tell him something for me?”

“Of course.” Langdon hoisted the bag onto his shoulder.

“Tell him this.” Galloway cleared his throat. “The Masonic Pyramid has always kept her secret . . . sincerely.”

“I don’t understand.”

The old man winked. “Just tell Peter that. He will understand.”

With that, Dean Galloway bowed his head and began praying.

Perplexed, Langdon left him there and hurried outside. Katherine was already in the front seat of the SUV giving the agent directions. Langdon climbed in back and had barely closed the door before the giant vehicle was rocketing across the lawn, racing northward to Kalorama Heights.